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January 01 2009

Operation HOPE Applauds the President Obama and Vice President Biden Focus on Education

Nonprofit’s FIVE MILLION KIDS campaign takes The White House “Back – To – School” initiative one step further

Washington, DC -- September 18, 2009 --September marks a time for students to report “Back – to – School” and Operation HOPE applauds the President Obama Administration’s focus to encourage educational excellence for our American youth.   President Obama on September 8, 2009, delivered a national address to the students of America.   During this special address, President Obama spoke directly to the nation's children and youth about persisting and succeeding in school. The President challenged students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning.   The U.S. Education Department also encouraged educators to use this moment to help students get focused and inspired to begin the new academic year.

Operation HOPE supports the goals of the Middle Class Task Force and the current direction of focus by President Obama and Vice President Biden.  As a financial literacy nonprofit, that hinges it success on empowering its clients, HOPE understands the importance of educating our youth.  Today, in the midst of our country’s financial reset, now is a perfect time to focus our attention to encourage youth around economic education, said HOPE Founder Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant.

While no racial group is financially literate, minority students are, on average, less literate as their white student counterparts.  While all young Americans are in need of and deserve to learn financial survivorship skills, it is particularly important for all minorities who currently lag in both the financial resources and financial literacy needed to enjoy a secure stake in our society.  The USPACFL has proposed recommendations for students from kindergarten through post – secondary education to expand and improve financial education.  We applaud several congressional actions around efforts to expand financial literacy including a call to mandate financial education in all schools for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade including a congressional resolution by Congresswoman Watson that supports our work to raise awareness about the importance of financial and economic literacy.

Vice President Biden also held a town hall meeting on college affordability.  The back-to-school discussion focused on helping families save and pay for college amid rising tuition costs and flat-lining middle class incomes.  Joining the Vice President at his law school alma mater were Task Force members Secretary Geithner and Secretary Duncan, Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and a panel of education policy experts.

“The economic future of the United States rests on not only the Americans who get degrees but who also become increasingly aware of the financial literacy problem and the many resources available to combat it,” stated Sharon Jones, the Senior Aide to the Office of the Vice Chair, U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy who attended the town hall meeting on behalf of Operation HOPE, Inc.  “Because of their impact on education, Student Debt and the Cost of College were two major issues addressed in the staff report on barriers to education.

Vice Chairman Bryant in his role with the USPACFL has worked with his Council Members to provide a series of financial literacy recommendations to include the recommendation of the U.S. Treasury and U.S. Education Department to take the necessary steps to require college students to take a more comprehensive course in financial literacy (or pass a competency test) than the present entrance and exit counseling requirements, as a condition of receiving Federally funding or Federally guaranteed student loans.   The Middle Class Task Force efforts are complimentary to the congressional actions which include that of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who sponsored a bill, H.R. 1325 which amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to ensure that students will receive counseling in the basics of money management if they take out federal student loans for college.

President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that a post-high-school education is important for a number of reasons:
• it helps students realize both their earnings and their educational potential;

• it is a gateway to the middle class; – it gives the United States a more competitive workforce in the global economy;
• for parents, sending their children to college is a top priority.
This is why the administration’s goal of having the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020 is a central component of the Middle Class Task Force’s agenda.  (Source:
www.whitehouse.gov) .